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Showing posts from 2012

Scrambling in Coire nan Lochan - 2012-12-09

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For day 3 of our Scottish winter "skills" trip we'd planned a consolidation day - to polish the skills that we'd learnt, practiced and used over the last few days as well as some more rope work including, if possible some climbing, belaying and abseiling, and we'd selected the Coire nan Lochan (the steep sided valley leading up to Stob Coire nan Lochan) as an ideal location to do this.

We'd packed pretty much everything for today's walk - helmets, rope, axes, crampons and all the climbing rig that we had brought with us so the bags were fairly heavy but long distance walking wasn't the aim of the day and for most of the time we were planning to leave the bags in one location while we practiced different exercises.

Starting from a pull-in/car park at the side of the A82 a few miles from Glencoe the route drops down to the bridge crossing the River Coe and then starts to rise gently as you meet the small wooded area before heading SW along the path of …

Stob Coire Raineach - 2012-12-08

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Day 2 of our December 2012, Scottish winter skills trip saw us waking up in Glencoe youth hostel (run by Scottish Youth Hostel Association - SYHA) at 5am as we'd planned to be up and about early so that we could make it to the first peak on the Ring of Steall which was our planned walk for the day.

However, the sound of the alarm at 5am was nearly as loud as the sound of the rain hitting the window of the youth hostel window so we all decided (thankfully) that we'd get another hour or so's shuteye and then review at 6:30am.....

.....6:30 arrived and, sat downstairs eating JD's porridge and hot chocolate combination, we decided to move our route from the wet, windy, Ring of Steall that we'd planned to do, over to the slightly more sheltered route up to Stob Coire Raineach, at the Northwest end of the Buachaille Etive Beag ridge and only a few miles from the YHA at Glencoe.

I've added the route log from my Garmin at the bottom of the post and you cal click throug…

Ft William and Ben Nevis - 2012-12-07

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By the time we'd arrived in Ft William (after driving up from Southampton the night before) it was 7am on a fairly miserable Friday morning - but we were in Scotland and we'd all been counting down the days/week/months for a long time.

The main purpose of the trip, other than to get out in the hills and enjoy ourselves, was to practice moving over mountainous terrain as a team of three and to practice the skills we'd need for next year's winter trip to Mt Triglav in Slovenia.

Now we'd planned the weekend like this; Day 1, skills pratice on Ben Lomond / Day 2, Ring of Steall / Day 3, skills "consolidation" around Glencoe.  Unfortunately the snow was less than impressive when we arrived in Glencoe and so we opted to drive slightly further up, to Ft William, and walk half-way up Ben Nevis and practice near the small lake (Lochan Meall an t-Suidhe), on the slopes of Meall an t-Suidhe.

After a bit of messing about with kit and packs (we had been in the car fo…

Sulphur Skyline summit and Miette Hot Springs

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".....the closest to heaven that I'll ever be, And I don't wanna go home right now"
Ok, I apologise for the fragrant rip off of "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls but the above line (albeit taken a fair way out of context) almost perfectly sums up how I felt sat on the summit of the Sulphur Ridge at 9am on the morning of the 24th of September 2012.

Sulphur Skyline trail - 9.6km

Starting from the car park at Miette hot springs (around 45 minutes drive from Jasper) early on the morning of the 24th of September we looked up at the wooded slopes leading up to the steep rocky ridge line silhouetted against the grey morning sky.


The whole round trip of around 9.5km gains over 700m of elevation and it's  fairly steep in places, especially the last section above the alpine meadow which turns into a rocky path to the summit.

The first section of the path (a few hundred metres) are paved and are, apparently, popular in the summer months and later in the day but starting bef…

Plain of 6 Glaciers Walk and Tea House

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20th September 2012, Alberta, Canada

There was a subtle difference to the morning of Thursday 20th September 2012; we'd woken up in a tent, again, still in Canada (Lake Louise Camp-site in the Alberta Rockies to be precise) and it was cold, about zero again, but promised to be clear and hot (around 28C) - the difference today was that I woke up with an incredibly painful back.  I have no idea how I managed to do whatever I did to my back but needless to say that thoughts of total inactivity and reading book after book on my kindle were running through my mind!

After a painful breakfast and probably too many Ibuprofen we decided to head back to Lake Louise and to walk the "moderate" 5.5km (each way) walk up to the Plain of Six Glaciers Tea House with a possible extension to get a closer view of the Victoria Glacier.


So with the early morning mists rising off Lake Louise we started to make our way along the trail that leads alongside the lake before heading up into the sub-…

Fairview Mountain - 19th September 2012

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Fairview Mountain - 19th September 2012

Standing at an impressive 2,744 meters above sea level Fairview Mountain was our first "real" mountain hike - no cable cars but as you start from the Lake Louise car park there are plenty of tourists around and we opted to start early for our "summit bid"!

6am dawned clear, crisp and cold and we cooked breakfast in down jackets under the stark light of our head torches - then, with coffee mugs steaming we headed off for the short trip in the car to the Lake Louise car park.

As we kitted up for the walk the words of our Scottish mountaineering skills instructor, Ron, sprang to mind: "be bold, start cold". Now this may seem a bit clich├ęd and daft to a fair few people but walking up mountains generates a lot of body heat and that, coupled with the day time temperatures that we were experiencing,  makes for a very unpleasant experience.  So shivering slightly we headed off on the well marked track to the Fairview Mounta…